In their thirteenth game of the season, the Eastside Catholic Crusaders outpaced the previously undefeated Rainier Beach Vikings in a 57-51 victory during a home conference matchup on Friday night.
Despite a close game in the first half, the Crusaders widened the gap thanks to three hits from behind the arc during the third quarter. For the entire game, and they made 36% of their shots from downtown compared to 19% for the Vikings.
Both teams, being well matched, demonstrated strong defense to open the night. However, the momentum soon tipped in Eastside Catholic’s favor through a series of rebounds from Jacob Cofie. Additional steals from Kayden Lamebull-Ingram and Louis Grante Halliday kept the ball and the advantage mostly in the Crusaders’ end of the court.
But the Vikings came to play and play they did. Aggressive offense from Rainier Beach’s Nahmier Robinson and Z’Maurion Homles kept them in the game and helped keep the first quarter tight with a 4-point Crusader lead.
The back-and-forth battle continued in the second quarter. Crusaders’ Alex Amaral hit a three-pointer only to be answered with three-pointers from the Vikings’ Robinson and Key’Shawn Mitchell. By halftime, Rainier Beach had narrowed their deficit to 1-point.
After regrouping during halftime, the Crusaders came out fighting with three-pointers from Nate Krohn, Cofie, and Ishe Kanhukamwe. Despite three-point rebuttals from Rainier Beach’s Josh Conerly, Jr. and Deshonne Royster, the 1-point difference turned into an 11-point Crusader lead.
Rainier Beach fought to the end but repeated rebounds under the bucket from Cofie and a strong Crusader defense kept them ahead until the end.
Overall, the final score of 57-51 reflected a close matchup in talent on both sides of the court. During the heated back-and-forth, each team racked up several fouls — with nine for Eastside Catholic and 10 for Rainier Beach in just the second half.
Eastside Catholic dominated defensively with 50 rebounds to Rainier Beach’s 39, and offensively with 10 assists compared to only seven for the Vikings. They also made 37% of their field goals to Rainier Beach’s 27%.
However, Rainier Beach did beat Eastside Catholic in steals (13-8) and blocks (4-1).
Eastside Catholic’s (8-5) next game will be an away game against Cleveland (1-8) on Tuesday, Jan. 18 at 7:15 p.m.